Despite Budget Availability, Flyover Construction on Guwahati's NH37 Bypass Yet to Take-off
GUWAHATI: The Guwahati bypass connecting Khanapara and Jalukbari that was constructed to ease the heavy traffic within the city has now turned into a major traffic congestion site itself. The 18 km long bypass sees heavy traffic cascading during the peak hours every single day, which sometimes runs up to Jalukbari and Basistha points.
G Plus took stock of the situation along the major intersections of the bypass at Lokhra, Garchuk and Basistha Chariali areas.
Locals and people commuting on the road regularly complained of heavy traffic throughout the day from 8 am to 6 pm. Most were of the view that school buses of the institutions located along the bypass as well as the office goers cause the traffic jams.
It is to be mentioned that the state government had proposed the construction of three flyovers at the Lokhra, Garchuk and Basistha Chariali areas. Assam transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had made the announcement in July last year and further stated that work on these would start by October 2019.
However, no such construction can be seen as on date and locals informed that they have never seen any officials in this regard.
A local businessman at Gorchuk Chariali said, “There is traffic blockage mostly during the morning hours from the Balaji Temple to Lokhra. The government had earlier mentioned that flyovers would be constructed but we have never seen any preliminary work done on the same. The main road, along with the service roads, is already cramped with traffic throughout the day and the construction work, when started would add to the problems.”
Auto drivers of the Lokhra Chariali auto stand have expressed their disappointment with concerned authorities in managing the regular traffic issues.
Satya Prasad Hazarika, an auto-rickshaw driver said, “Due to lack of flyovers, the ‘U-turn diversions’ are placed at long intervals, which make it highly inconvenient for us. As the distance lengthens, the fares increase. But customers are not willing to pay that high which makes it difficult for us.”
One of the police officials regulating traffic on the bypass informed that although every effort is made on the part of the department to maintain smooth flow, the number of vehicles is increasing at an alarming rate and a permanent solution needs to be provided.
Locals have also said that every time some event takes place at the Sarusajai stadium, like the recent Khelo India Games, and VIP and dignitary visits are scheduled, the traffic intensity increases manifold. As such, they believed that construction of the flyover would bring relief to the commuters.
Alok Kumar, Regional Officer at the National Highway Authority of India, the organisation responsible for building the flyovers said, “The Detailed Project Report (DPR) has already been completed and construction work would take place as soon as it gets a nod from the government.”
He further informed that there would be a total of four 6-lane flyovers at Lokhra, Garchuk, Basistha Chariali and Boragoan Chariali. Moreover, a meeting was held at the NITI-Aayog on 30th January and suggestions were made to increase the length of the bypass to 8-lane or make it an express highway altogether.
Given the current traffic of 30,000 passenger car units (PCU), the present width of the highway has proven insufficient. Although Patowary has suggested that construction of the much needed flyovers would start from October 2019, NHAI could not confirm the accurate date.
It has to be mentioned that NHAI has proposed a total budget of around Rs 150 crores for the project although the exact amount has not yet been specified. Kumar said, “NHAI is not in constraints of fund so the budget would not be an issue.”
So the question arises “Why has the construction of the flyover not been undertaken as a top priority if there is no constraint of budget?” Given that more delayed the work is, more PCUs will be added to the road, leading to further inconvenience.